Read His Words Before Ours!
“Are you changing your little black baby’s diaper?”
My eyes widened in shock and (let’s be real) horror as I heard my two year old’s voice ring out over the din of the church nursery. I spun around in time to see the woman stiffen as she bit her tongue, finish changing her infant and turn to walk away. I wasn’t close enough to hear if, or how, she responded, but he had already moved on and was playing with a toy truck a few feet away. At two, my son was learning his colors and he loved to share his newfound knowledge with everyone he met by assigning a color to anything that caught his eye – blocks, toys, books, cars, houses – and now, apparently, people. He spoke very clearly for his age, and although his question was completely innocent, it brought the racial tension into stark clarity in that moment.
Why in the world is this happening to me, I thought. That boy has never in his life heard anyone describe another person by the color of their skin! My stomach dropped as I fumbled for an apology that wouldn’t sound entirely awkward…while wondering if the apology itself would make an innocent situation awkward. I would rather choose the constant questions of a toddler in every public restroom known to mankind over this, any day of the week, I thought. Her eyes met mine for an instant as she passed by, and I could sense the ocean of distance between us.
My heart ached with conviction. In my worry over what she might think after my son’s (albeit innocent) comment, my thoughts had revolved only around how I might be perceived. I had given no thought to her own feelings. The reality of racial inequality that I so often read and heard about, but had never actually related to, came to life for me in that moment. Granted, the experience was mild compared to what could have been, but my heart ached as I considered her for a moment. I wondered how many other awkward moments she had been forced to push through. Perhaps the question or comment in those instances was innocent, perhaps not. I thought about our beautiful boys. Each created for a unique purpose. Each created in the image of the Father. Each an equally important, equally loved, equally vital part of the Master Storyteller’s intricate tale. The fact that anyone could think anything different made my stomach throb.
Racial inequality is the narrative we are fed by mainstream media and the current culture in America (shockingly more so than other countries), but by using the very title “racial inequality” we only serve to further the divide by reinforcing the belief that there are different races. In reality and by definition, all humans, regardless of creed or color, are of one race. Until Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life in 1859, this was a fact known and accepted by all. However, Darwin’s book asserted that different tribes or groups of people evolved and developed, both mentally and physically, at different rates, thus dividing mankind and re-defining race as unique groups of people with similar characteristics and evolutionary growth, rather than mankind as a whole.
So, where does that leave us as people of the cross? First, we must examine our hearts to discover if we believe truth or if we have bought into the lie that we are not all created in God’s image. If we believe that man was created in God’s image, we must believe that all people, regardless of skin tone or nationality, were created in God’s image.
We are one race.
Throughout the Old and New Testament, it is apparent that God is indiscriminate when it comes to loving people. He loves and wants to save us all. Not “some of us.” Not “those with blond hair or brown eyes or size eight feet.” Not “those with muscles or slender bodies or darker skin tones.”
ALL. HE LOVES US ALL.
Jesus died to save us all.
Can we say that we are truly loving as He leads?
Without borders or reservations?
Are we drawing the people He sends us into life with us?
What would our world look like if we began to emulate His love for others boldly and without reservation?
Father, we love You. We believe that You made each of us in Your perfect image. Forgive us for our weakness. Help us to recognize when our heart posture encourages anything but love for one another. Help us to see the unique and valuable traits you placed in every one of us. Give us Your eyes, Your heart. Soften our hearts as we Journey through Palette and the real heart issues behind what we call racial injustice. Holy Spirit, convict us where we need to be convicted. We are Yours.
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